This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at L3-1963

L3 -1963
L3 -1963 - 1963 L3 manned lunar lander using earth-orbit rendezvous method. Configuration based on description and lander configuration of early L3M design.

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Manufacturer's Designation: L3. Class: Manned. Type: Lunar Lander. Nation: USSR. Manufacturer: OKB-1.

Korolevís first version of the L-3 manned spacecraft was described in a 23 September 1963 letter setting out the space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975. The L3 was designed to make a direct lunar landing using the earth orbit rendezvous method. It was a 200 tonne spacecraft requiring three N1 launches and a single Soyuz 11A5ll launch to assemble in low earth orbit. The first N1 launch would place the 75 tonne partially-fuelled TLI stage and L3 spacecraft (except the L1 manned return craft) into low earth orbit. Two further N1 launches would orbit 75 tonne tankers which would rendezvous and dock with the first payload and top off its propellant tanks. Then the Soyuz would be launched for an automated rear-end docking with the entire L3 stack.

The L3 spacecraft thereby assembled consisted of:

The total L3 mission would take ten to seventeen days. 2.5 to 3.5 days would be spent on the translunar and transearth legs of the mission Five to ten days would be spent on the lunar surface.

The L3 was not authorised in this form and it would over two years before a very belated start was made to beat the Americans in the moon-landing race. The L3 reformulated for the crash program would require only a single uprated N1 launch and use the lunar-orbit-rendezvous method, with a single-man lander.


L3-1963 Chronology

01 September 1963 Korolev earth orbit rendezvous L3 manned lunar lander design.

This L3 design was a 200 tonne direct-lander requiring three launches of his giant N1 rocket and assembled in low earth orbit.

23 September 1963 Korolev letter sets out a space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975.

Soviet Lunar LandersSoviet Lunar Landers - Comparison of Soviet lunar lander designs. Only the LK reached the hardware stage.

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The plan included a series of lunar exploration vehicles: the L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .